How To Be a Better Dad: Addiction

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How To Be a Better Dad: Addiction

How To Be a Better Dad is the fatherhood and co-parenting section on SingleDad. Share and exchange great fatherhood advice from our members who are in all stages of fatherhood. Today we learn about how to deal with addiction. 


Dear SingleDad, 

I’m not single, but I will be if I can’t get myself together. I have two children with my wife and I have relapsed. I was three years sober and my children have not ever seen me struggling with my addiction. This hurts my wife and she wants to support me, but not put herself or our children through a life like this. I’m going back to rehab but neither of us know how to explain this to our kids. 

-Danny, 47 

First off, congratulations on being three years sober. Addiction is not easy but it sounds like you understand that, are willing to accept help, and make sure you praise yourself for that. It’s a choice you made that then has turned into a battle that you may deal with for a long time. But again, praise yourself for being aware and seeking help. 

  • Therapy 

During your stay in rehab use the time wisely in this therapy and seek therapy after you’re released. Having a routine, a schedule to talk with someone who is not emotionally connected to you and is educated in addictions will help your journey. There is also therapy available for the families whose loved ones struggle with addiction. 

  • Honesty 

Depending on your children’s age, honesty would be the best decision. If they are old enough to understand something is up, it will be best to be open and honest with them about this struggle. If your children are still very young, there is a way to explain your absence without worrying them. A therapist could help with that decision. 


  • Self Care 

Your wife is struggling and will be struggling with how to help the children cope with your absence. Knowing that there is struggle within your family will create guilt and struggle for yourself. You have a battle to fight, you’re taking the steps in order to do that, and you need yourself right now. Self care is extremely important and you can not give until you are stable. Empathize with your family, of course, but letting shame and guilt creep in will only stall your healing. The focus will not be on yourself and that’s where it needs to be right now. Worrying about how to explain this to your children is normal and important, but it can not be the only thing to cloud your mind. Because then you are elsewhere. Again, a therapist could help with this decision, or an employee from the rehab facility. Others on the outside may be able to make a better decision since they are not the ones who are personally affected and are well trained. 


Praise yourself for getting through this battle and wanting better. Praise your wife for wanting better. Praise both of you for wanting better for your children. I wish you the best in your healing and continue to ask for support when needed. Good luck to you and your family. I wish you all peace, health, support, and love. 

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